Whether your website is established with a long history on the internet or brand new out of the box, you need to understand SEO in order to be found by the audience you hope to reach.
The vast majority of all online experiences begin with a search and the majority of those searches are in Google. First, it is an absolute fact that less than half a percent of searches go to the second page of Google search. So when you consider that there only 10 organic listings on page one, 3 to 4 map listings and 7 or so paid ads, this is a high stakes game. Indulge your imagination for a moment as to just how many websites are out there selling your exact service and how each and every one of them wants to be found on page one of Google. Considering that are only 13 “free” organic listings and 7 paid listings, the playing field is pretty small and ultra-competitive.
To make matters worse, the last few listings on page one actually get 1% or less each of the search traffic for that Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Everyone is popping the cork on the Champagne bottle when they get to the bottom of page one, but unfortunately, they are not going to see significant traffic until they are in the top 5 or even top 3.
If the search terms you wanted ranking for had no competition then you would need to do nothing but have a page talking about that topic and you would appear on page one of Google. However, since there are hundreds to thousands of sites battling to rank for most valuable terms, you are going to have to engage an expert or two to help you get to page one and keep you there.
Some website owners might feel resistant to this notion, since “heck that organic search stuff is supposed to be free”. Let me ask you this, at what point in history could business be successful without spending money on advertising and exposure. The answer is NEVER. This is the number one reason for the failure of new businesses in the age of the internet. There is a very nasty persistent belief that success can be created on free exposure, viral social media, free Google search engine ranking and other myths like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
So now that we have established that you will need to pay somebody to help with SEO, let’s talk about how you can pick an SEO agency that is both effective, reasonably priced, transparent and legitimate.
- Check their portfolio and make sure they can point to some clients that are ranking well for important keywords that would make them money.
- Ask them to discuss their actual methods and strategies. If they tell you not to worry about the methods and to just trust them, then you should run, not walk away.
- Do a search for their company name and words like reviews and scam. One or two bad reviews is understandable in this world but look for specifics in the reviews that would indicate there are actual problems with the agency.
- Don’t evaluate the service by how much you like the sales rep. Large service companies employee the most charismatic and attractive sales reps to capture and hold clients. They have nothing to with the results you can expect.
- Do not purchase this service from dinosaurs like the Yellow Pages, Newspapers, and other Media outlets. These companies have massive buildings filled with hundreds of people and the pricing and margins for the services they pitch you are designed to feed all those hungry employees. SEO can be performed perfectly with a single expert and a laptop in a coffee shop. The difference between that individual or small agency charges you and the nearly extinct media conglomerate is the amount of money it takes to support a massive infrastructure that offers no value to your business, just higher cost than necessary.